money money money makes the world go 'round

Transparency and Credibility

There's a great food blog that I read. I used to read it with much more zeal than now, and that's the subject of my story. See a few ago I noticed a recipe for what amounted to a casserole made from a can. Had I drifted back in time to the 1950s? No, upon further review this was a post sponsored by "Campbell's Kitchen". I was shocked and yes even a little offended.

The problem wasn't so much the fact that they were accepting advertising from Campbell's, rather that now I didn't know which stories are advertising. For example, in this review of store-bought gravies (something I would not ever buy anyway, but I'm into taste tests of all sorts), Campbell's gravy got an honorable mention. Is that because it was actually tasty or because Campbell's slipped a little cash their way. There's really no way to know. Worst of all, nothing the author might say could prove otherwise because how do we know he's not being paid off to deny it. It's a horrible spiral of assumed deceit.

Beyond just a silly food blog, this is basically the same problem facing Congress. When a congressman takes campaign money from a person or company, and then later passes legislation that benefits that entity, how can we ever believe that the money didn't affect their decision? And even if the representative is being honest and trying their best, does the money subconsciously alter their behavior?

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